All About Gluten
Gluten is Latin for glue. Gluten is the strong, sticky, stretchy protein that forms when wheat flour and water mix. It is remarkable stuff that gives structure to baked goods and helps wheat flour morph into many different foods like al dente pasta, fluffy waffles, crisp pastries, chewy artisan bread.
Where is gluten found?
In wheat, barley, triticale, rye, and brewer's yeast. Including all of their derivatives. Brewer's yeast can be gluten free, if specified on the label and verified by the manufacturer. Ingredients like maltodextrin can be made from wheat.
What can gluten affect?
Gluten can affect and damage the digestive system, which includes the stomach, liver, small and large intestines. It can also affect and damage the esophageal rings leading from the throat to the stomach. Gluten can cause malnutrition due to the damage of the small intestines, which includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The duodenum breaks down food, the jejunum absorbs nutrients to carry to the blood, and the ileum is also responsible for nutrient absorption. When these become damaged they can no longer do their job. Gluten can even affect the skin, causing dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), which affects 1 in 3,300 people.
So is gluten good for anyone?
Good question! Keep in mind that today's gluten is not the same as it was decades ago. Our bodies aren't necessarily built for the gluten in today's diet. The question posed above is one that the medical community is divided on. However, there is evidence that shows gluten cannot be completely digested. When the undigested gluten makes its way into the body it can cause an autoimmune response. This autoimmune response can affect our body's organs.
Can you heal from gluten's damage?
Yes! With the correct nutrition, addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and avoiding gluten. How exactly can this be accomplished? It can be different for everyone, so speak with your educated medical professional, dietitian, or nutritionist that is certified in gluten free living!
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